Friday, June 8, 2012

Snapshots: Places to See

Up until this point, you’ve probably been convinced that I spent an entire week in Montana, snuggled on my boyfriend’s coach or out taking pictures of the sky. While that may not be too far from the truth, we did manage to fit a few interesting stops and visits into our week of house cleaning and settling in. In fact, we visited three out of five of the largest cities in Montana - Missoula, Bozeman and Butte. The best part? Missoula has short of 67,000 people. After all, the entire state has less people than the city of Philadelphia, and it’s the fourth largest state in the country. (I think that’s what I love about it.)

During our week, we managed to eat out quite a bit. We scored a great gluten-free pizza in downtown Anaconda at a little place called Gallicano’s Pizzeria. I was surprised when it was possibly the best one I’ve had - I didn’t expect Montana to excel in the areas of gluten-free eating or pizza. Better yet, the man at the counter informed us that we could happily pay IOU since they didn’t “take plastic”. We also made it a point to try the chinese restaurant in town (Trevor’s favorite cuisine), and Barclay II, the laughable “fine dining” experience of our week. Breakfasts out were at the local favorite diner, the Copperbowl, and were followed with gambling on poker machines in the attached “casino” room. In Missoula, we stopped at a bar-b-que chain which served the worst caesar salad I’ve ever had - and in Butte, the Montana Club, where they served me avocado with breakfast. Montana stands out in a lot of ways but culinary expertise is not one of those. The best meals of the week were home cooked - pork tenderloin in a mango chutney, gluten free pancakes with caramelized fuji apples, and a delicious (but chilly) bar-b-que.

When we weren’t taking a trip to see other Montana towns, we made it a point to get to know our own. We spent a sunny afternoon walking the streets of Anaconda and peaking into every open store. There was Copperopolis, a stunning home decor and furniture which bears the almost chosen name for the town; Beyond Necessities Gifts; the local florist; the town park; and a quick lunch at Taco Time, a fast food restaurant which serves tator tots as a side with crunchy (and delicious) tacos.

After a double-date for Chinese, we decided to see a movie in one of my favorite town spots, Anaconda’s Washoe Theater. According to the Smithsonian, this place is a national theatre because of its immaculate decor - I don’t think I would argue. The theater was built in the 1930’s and has remained in unchanged, pristine condition, since. Each week, they show one movie - each day at an 8:00 p.m. show time. While Scott, Michelle and Trevor eagerly enjoyed “the Avengers,” I enjoyed an after-dinner nap. The difference in altitude takes a few days of adjusting and in the meantime, I napped twice daily. (That in and of itself was worth the trip.)

The theatre is not the only part of town which feels as though it’s not of this time period. The Copperbowl, the local laundry mat - even my boyfriend’s home, as well - feel as though they haven’t changed in years. As Trevor explained it, “Anaconda is not as remote as it is antiquated and non-crowded, with charming out of this world scenery.”

Though I enjoyed my quiet week in Anaconda, I was excited to make a day trip to visit the University of Montana in Missoula. Thankfully their graduate school was able to fit me in for a last minute appointment and Scott and Michelle were kind enough to take us. We were able to tour the campus, grab some coffee (and chai!) and get the information I needed about what next fall will hold. While in Missoula, we also ventured to Costco, Home Depot and Starbucks. After all, if you’re going to make the drive to the “city”, you might as well do it right.

As you can see, we managed to fit quite a few things into a quick stay but my list of “things to see” for my summer in Montana is growing. After all, Trevor promised me a road trip to Yellowstone. Until then, I will try to be patient, make my list longer, begin to pack, and continue to be thankful Trevor actually uses the webcam I bought for his birthday.

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